Mumbai

Free Kashmir poster: Protester says she stood for peace as Jayant Patil and Devendra Fadnavis lock horns on Twitter

A demonstrator holds a poster at Gateway of India in Mumbai on January 6, 2020 during a protest against the violence at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

A demonstrator holds a poster at Gateway of India in Mumbai on January 6, 2020 during a protest against the violence at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.   | Photo Credit: ANI

Maharashtra Home Minister says woman behind the poster at Gateway of India protest will be investigated.

Irrigation minister Jayant Patil and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had a spat on Twitter on Tuesday over a ‘Free Kashmir’ poster held by a woman protester during the sit-in at the Gateway of India condemning the violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Mr. Fadnavis fired the first salvo by tweeting, “Protest is for what exactly? Why slogans of “Free Kashmir”? How can we tolerate such separatist elements in Mumbai? ‘Free Kashmir’ slogans by Azadi gang at 2km from CMO? Uddhavji are you going to tolerate this free Kashmir anti India campaign right under your nose???”

In reply, Mr. Patil said the Opposition leader was misinterpreting the message. He said, “Devendraji, it’s ‘free kashmir’ from all discriminations, bans on cellular networks and central control. I can’t believe that responsible leader like you trying to confuse people by decoding words in such a hatred way. Is it losing power or losing self control?”

Mr. Fadnavis responded by saying that the Minister must learn to place the nation first. “Jayantrao, this vote bank politics is not expected from you. Kashmir has already been freed from discrimination and certain curbs have been there since decades for security concerns. Be it in Govt or opposition, for us, the only principle is NATION FIRST!” Mr. Fadnavis tweeted.

Meanwhile, Mehak Prabhu, the woman protester, said in a video message that the controversy had been blown out of proportion. “If by being naive in understanding the impact it would have and in the process have created this stir, I apologise. I am an artist who believes in basic human compassion. Let power of love overcome hate,” she said.

 

Ms. Prabhu said she was just highlighting the communication curbs imposed on Jammu & Kashmir since August 5. She said, “In the last five months, the basic rights of the people of Jammu & Kashmir have been taken away. If we say they are ‘ours’, then we should treat them accordingly. They should get the basic rights that we are getting.”

She said she was just trying to send a message of peace. “I was quietly standing. Actually, there were flowers in my hand. It was meant to be offering peace. Let’s make peace together. That was my only intention in holding that placard,” she said.

Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the woman’s background is being verified. He said, “If she is involved in any anti-national activity, action will be taken against her.” Meanwhile, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said he has filed a complaint against Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad for leading an ‘anti-national’ march in south Mumbai without police permission. The Mumbai police is yet to give an official confirmation on the complaint.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 10:12:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/free-kashmir-poster-protester-says-she-stood-for-peace-as-jayant-patil-and-devendra-fadnavis-lock-horns-on-twitter/article30506643.ece

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